Yesterday, an 18-year-old student in the Mansfield ISD got into a fight at school. We’re not talking about a schoolyard fight. That’s a big no-no in these days of zero tolerance. We’re talking a knock-down, drag-out fight in the classroom. The aftermath of that fight is that the 18-year-old allegedly pulled a gun and opened fire. Four people were injured and the young man is now in custody, facing serious felony charges. That is bad enough for all involved. But what is worse is how people who weren’t there, people who couldn’t be bothered to do a little bit of research, took to social media to cast shade on what happened and what would happen in the future. Social media, you know the place, where everyone can say what they want without fear of reprisal and where they have the choice of muting or blocking anyone who doesn’t agree with their every word.
In this instance, a young man’s actions have ruined his life. There’s talk that he was the subject of bullying and felt this was the only way he believed he could protect himself. If that’s true, the school administration, not to mention the district, will have some very difficult questions to answer. No child, no matter how old they are, should be the victim of bullies. Unfortunately, we’re seeing it happen more and more often, and all too many times it results in the victim either snapping and resorting to violence or to suicide.
This is partly to blame on the zero tolerance rules so many districts put into place more than 10 years ago. The bullied child can no longer meet the bully on the schoolyard and work out their differences–either through fighting or whatever. Both will get in trouble and face suspension–or worse. Hell, some districts have even tried to regulate behavior off-campus. What choice does that leave the bullied student if the administration does nothing to stop bullying?
Unfortunately, that’s a consequence educators and politicians didn’t take into account and still refuse to do anything about.
But on to social media and the role it played yesterday.
I abhor Twitter. That’s no secret. But I wandered over there yesterday because there had been videos of the fight posted and I wanted to see for myself what led up to the shooting. (Trying to make an informed decision, something too many refused to do.) What I saw appalled me. Two young men were fighting and one obviously had the upper hand. Off-screen, you could hear a woman calling for help. You saw other students getting the hell out of the way as the fight progressed.
Then came the comments. Many were concerned about not only the victims and students who witnessed what happened but also the suspect. But then came the rest. You know the ones I’m talking about: gun control, evil Texas, bad cops will hunt down the suspect and kill him. There were more.
But here’s the thing. This incident has nothing to do with gun control. At least not at the point the tweets were posted. First, we didn’t know how the suspect obtained the gun. In other words, we didn’t know if he’d gotten it through legal means or not. In TX, someone under legal age can legally purchase a gun if their parent signs off on it. There are other ways as well. So, for all we know, the suspect bought the gun or was given it legally. He may have also simply helped himself to a gun legally obtained by a family member. In those cases, how would gun control have helped? Unless, as the tweeter (yes, I almost wrote twit) probably wants, you mean no guns at all. Of course, anyone with two working brain cells knows the problem with that.
And that problem is the ease of getting weapons illegally. Again, something we didn’t know happened–or didn’t–at the time of the tweet. Not that the OP cared. All they wanted to do was climb on their political whipping horse and let fly. To hell with the feelings of those involved, the kids who saw what happened, the families waiting to hear if their loved ones were all right. To hell with the feelings of the loved ones of the suspect who were trying to make sense of what happened and make sure he was taken into custody without further incident.
But the social media asses had other causes to trumpet. Once again, the cries of police brutality rang out. BEFORE THE POLICE DID ANYTHING EXCEPT CLEAR THE SCHOOL. These idiots just knew the cops would hunt the young man down and kill him. Why? Because all police are corrupt and evil and look forward to being able to hunt down young men, especially young men who aren’t of the Caucasian persuasion, and kill them.
What the F*ck?!?
These harridans need to take a long, hard look at themselves in the mirror. They are the online bullies. They are the ones who have lost sight of what was important in the situation yesterday. They chose to bang their political drums to the exclusion of showing even the least bit of compassion for the suspect, his family, the injured, their families, or those caught up in the events as they unfolded. They are the ones who have helped foment dissention in our country because they can screech and cry and drum up anger and animosity from the relative safety of their keyboards.
And social media companies do nothing to stop it. Why? Because they share the same political agendas as most of those showing up yesterday to whinge and whine and pontificate.
As my mother says, social media is the biggest evil to have struck our society in years.